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Call for Conference Abstracts

NACC’s 43rd National Child Welfare Law Conference

AUG 24–26, 2020  





The National Association of Counsel for Children is accepting abstract submissions for its 43rd National Child Welfare Law Conference.  


In addition to hot topics in child welfare law and practice, the theme of this year’s conference is Cross-Sector Advocacy: examining the intersectionality of the child welfare system with juvenile justice and homeless youth and advancing holistic advocacy for all children, youth, and families.  Pre-Conference sessions include NACC’s Red Book Training and Children’s Law Office Convening.


Abstracts are due Sunday, February 2, 2020.  All applicants will be notified of NACC’s selection decisions in March.  See NACC’s Conference Abstract FAQs for more information.


NACC’s annual conference is a unique opportunity for child and family legal and policy professionals from across the country to gather to continue their legal education, exchange new ideas, build skills, and network with colleagues and friends.  NACC is grateful for the contributions of our national conference faculty, who provide their time and talent (at their own expense) to produce a high-quality training event which inspires attendees to do their best work for children and families in courtroom and policy advocacy. 


NACC’s vision is that every child and family involved with the court system is well-represented by a lawyer who works to ensure that every child is raised by a nurturing family and has positive life opportunities.  In 2019, NACC launched a new strategic plan that will drive our work toward this vision, anchoring our efforts in the child welfare system and the intersection of other fields (juvenile justice/criminal justice, family law, immigration, homelessness, education, civil rights, and other civil legal matters).  The annual conference is an opportunity for us to further these goals through the exchange of information, ideas, and collective efforts.


The majority of conference attendees are attorneys and judges who work in child welfare court systems representing children, parents, and agencies.  Many attendees have a diverse practice which also includes work in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Conference attendees also include professionals from other disciplines including medicine, policy advocacy, immigration, education, social services, and civil rights, as well as law students and other child welfare stakeholders. 


Conference sessions should be designed for a national audience, expand attendees’ understanding of the law, provide practical tools and resources to support legal advocacy, and provide information and strategies for systems improvement.  Specific topics of interest include:


  • Keeping children in families, family settings, and with siblings
  • Ethics in child welfare practice
  • Family First Prevention Services Act, Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act, and major legislation impacting the child welfare and justice systems
  • Prevention and early intervention for child welfare and juvenile justice system involvement
  • Homelessness and homeless youth
  • Immigration and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
  • Racial and ethnic disparities and implicit bias
  • LGBTQI youth and related topics, including nondiscrimination protections, faith-based services, and religious exemptions
  • Policing, criminal justice, and child welfare
  • Human trafficking
  • Domestic violence
  • Trial skills (discrete 90-minute skills sessions)
  • Language access
  • Rural jurisdiction issues
  • Confidentiality and privilege
  • Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
  • Substance use disorders (children and parents)
  • Mental health
  • Trauma-informed treatment and trauma-sensitive courtrooms/offices/practices
  • Indian Child Welfare Act
  • Licensing reform
  • Innovative legal service delivery systems and law office management
  • Best practices for child, parent, and agency attorneys, including multi-disciplinary and holistic legal representation
  • Diversifying the legal profession
  • Certification and standards of practice
  • Policy advocacy (specific reforms and skill-building)
  • Class action litigation and amicus advocacy


NACC welcomes DIVERSITY in abstract submissions, which includes diversity in faculty, diversity in the population of children and families addressed, and diversity in geographic representation and urban/rural/suburban areas.  NACC also encourages multidisciplinary faculty panels, presentations that include youth and parents formerly involved in the child welfare system, and presentations by Child Welfare Law Specialists. 


Abstract selection is highly competitive.  Our schedule permits a total of six (6) plenary sessions and thirty-five (35) breakout sessions.  All sessions are 90 minutes long.  Breaks between sessions are 30 minutes to permit additional questions and networking. 


NACC will consider payment for travel and lodging for individuals with lived experience included in an abstract submitted by another individual.  NACC does not have a submission process for keynote speakers, but speakers are welcome to email their information to


Conference faculty (up to two presenters per session) receive free conference registration. However, faculty must pay for their own travel and accommodations (exception for some youth presenters; see FAQs).


Please review NACC’s Conference Abstract FAQs before abstract submission.


NACC Non-Discrimination Policy

It is the policy of the National Association of Counsel for Children not to discriminate against any individual or group on the basis of race, culture, ethnicity, national origin, religion or religious beliefs, physical or mental disability or handicap, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or age.  NACC embraces diversity among its Board, staff, members, and volunteers.






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